New Delhi, November 27: Taking cognizance of the much talked about shelter home case, the Supreme Court on Tuesday slammed the Nitish Kumar government in Bihar over its failure to file correct FIR in connection with the alleged Muzaffarpur shelter home sexual abuse cases.
While warning the state government of strict action, the top court also gave it a 24-hour ultimatum to additional charges under Section 377 (rape) of the Indian Penal Code and the POCSO Act in the FIR filed in connection with the cases.
The top court bench headed by CJI Ranjan Gogoi said, “What are you (Bihar govt) doing? It’s shameful. If the child is sodomised you say it’s nothing? How can you do this? It’s inhuman. We were told that matter will be looked with great seriousness, this is seriousness? Every time I read this file it’s tragic.”
The apex court made these observations while responding to a batch of petitions filed in the case, which alleged that the Bihar government has been very "soft" on the accused. The staff members of the shelter homes were involved in serious sexual abuse, physical violence but the FIRs were registered against them only under the 'soft' sections, they alleged.
The top court then said that it will take up the case again on Wednesday.
While hearing the petitions filed in the case, the Supreme Court slammed the Nitish government for not taking concrete action in the Muzaffarpur shelter home sex scandal case since getting a detailed report in this regard in May. The top court also expressed its inclination to transfer probe into all Bihar shelter home sexual abuse cases to the CBI.
The Supreme court said that it was ''not satisfied'' with the probe conducted by the Bihar Police and sought a reply from the state's Chief Secretary, who was also present in the court, by Wednesday.
Coming down heavily on Bihar Police, the top court said, ''The state's police has filed corporal punishment charge in case of sodomy. It is "shameful" for the Bihar government that it is going soft against the perpetrators of crime against shelter homes children. Are children not the citizen of the country?"
Citing the TISS report, the top court said, ''A boy showed TISS a 3 inch-long scar in his cheek, impaired speech, why haven't you registered an FIR under 323, 325? A child says I don't want to cook, they slashed his cheek.''
Bihar government also reportedly admitted its mistake before the Supreme Court for not taking proper action against shelter homes and assured it that the mistake will be rectified. The Nitish government also sought one last opportunity to correct the mistake. To which, the top court said that the action of Bihar government is ''unacceptable'' as some of the children in shelter homes were sodomised but Section 377 of the IPC was not invoked.
Over 30 girls were allegedly raped at the shelter home run by key accused Brajesh Thakur, the head of a state-funded NGO. The alleged sexual exploitation of the girls was first highlighted in an audit report submitted by TISS to the state’s social welfare department.
An FIR was lodged against 11 people, including Thakur, on May 31. The probe was later taken over by the CBI in July. The sexual abuse of 34 of the 42 inmates was confirmed in their medical examination.